Heatley on the move

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

OTTAWA -- Dany Heatley asked for a change of scenery and the Atlanta Thrashers delivered.

So far, the high-scoring forward loves the view.

Heatley, 24, was moved to the Ottawa Senators yesterday from the Thrashers in exchange for Marian Hossa, 26, and defenceman Greg De Vries, 32.

Just hours after Senators GM John Muckler signed Hossa to a three-year, $18-million (all terms US) contract to avoid an arbitration hearing, the club sent him packing to Atlanta and signed Heatley to a three-year, $13.5-million deal.

"I'm just ecstatic about getting to go to a team like Ottawa," Heatley told Sun Media in an exclusive interview last night from Kelowna, B.C. "It's tough to leave a place like Atlanta, but I really felt at this point this was the best move for my career.

"With everything that has happened in Atlanta, I felt it would have been difficult for me to go back there. To get a chance to go to a Stanley Cup contender like the Senators is just great for me and something I'm really excited about. You never know where you're going to go when you asked to be traded ... to be moved to a place like Ottawa is just great news for me. I'm so excited."

While it was recently reported that Heatley was looking to be dealt, he only made the official request to Atlanta GM Don Waddell two weeks ago.

SOUL-SEARCHING

Heatley simply needed to get away from the place where a Sept. 29, 2003 car crash took the life of teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley was driving the car. Heatley said he did a lot of soul-searching before making the request, but felt it was the best move.

"It's not easy to ask for a change of environment and it was difficult for me ... probably one of the toughest decisions I've ever made and I had to talk it over with my family," said Heatley.

"But I felt it was best for me and it was time to move forward and get a fresh start. I thought about it a lot. I didn't just wake up one day and decide that I wanted to be traded. A lot of time and energy went into this before I made the decision to go ahead with it.

"It's tough to leave a place like Atlanta -- especially because the organization was so good to me and they supported me -- but I am going to a great team and I have some friends on the team (Chris Phillips and Wade Redden). I am excited about that."

Muckler said discussions to acquire Heatley started two weeks ago.

"I got the call from (Thrashers GM) Don Waddell and he explained the situation he had with Heatley in Atlanta," said Muckler. "He wanted to know what we were going to do about Hossa and thought we might have a fit. I phoned him back the next day to see if he was serious.

"We got a young player -- a goal scorer that we feel can help us -- and the Atlanta Thrashers got a terrific player in Marian Hossa. This is just the perfect trade for both teams because what it does is make both teams better."

Hossa was not angry ... just a little stunned.

"I'm not mad ... I'm shocked and I'm disappointed because I've been with that team for six years and I really enjoyed playing in Ottawa," said Hossa. "I'm excited about going to a young team like the Thrashers. They've got a lot of good players and I want to help that team make the playoffs. I had no idea this was going to happen. I signed a contract with Ottawa because I wanted to be there."

Heatley was so excited about being dealt to the Senators, he boarded a red-eye flight to Ottawa last night and will attend a press conference this afternoon with Muckler and Senators coach Bryan Murray.

"If you look around the league, there are a lot of different places I could have ended up ... I don't think I could have asked for a better situation than Ottawa," said Heatley.


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